Yesterday afternoon we received an email — the subject line of which read, “I Got Killed in Sharknado!!!” — from a L.A.-based comedian named Ryan Budds who’s listed on the Sharknado IMBD page as “Beach Victim.” Here’s part of what he said…
I got to be killed in the first few minutes of Sharknado!…I’m emailing you guys because I saw how many Sharknado posts you’ve been throwing up! I’d love to contribute some behind the scenes stuff. Would you guys be down for a guest post like that?
Um, YES! Our thirst for all things Sharknado around here is unquenchable. Hell, there’s an argument to be made that Sharknado would not be the phenomenom it is today had it not been for our early, relentless pimping of it, led, of course, by our own Sharknado-obsessed Danger Guerrero. (Stop what you’re doing right now and read his glorious Sharknado review if you haven’t already.) So below is Ryan’s account of working on the movie along with a few photos he sent us, in addition to a clip of his few seconds of glory I recorded this morning from my DVR. Enjoy…
It was pretty amazing seeing my mug next to Brad Pitt’s (Friday) on the LA Times website with the caption “Sharknado and World War Z” branded under it. And on Entertainment Weekly. And on Huffington Post. And in about a thousand comments/likes/posts my Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Holy crap! How the hell did that happen? Two seconds ago I was just a comedian and writer from the Midwest looking for a break!
Here’s how. Back in November, a month into my relocation to LA from Chicago, I won a comedy contest at Flappers in Burbank, CA. One of the prizes was a walk-on role in an Asylum movie. I didn’t even know what that meant, but within a few minutes of Google searches, I realized I was about to be part of a cheesy piece of film history! I walked into The Asylum’s production office the next day and inquired about my prize, finding out that they had no idea of the agreement with the comedy club. One of the head honchos, David Latt, came out to talk to me (on rollerblades) and mentioned that he didn’t know about the contest but that he’d be happy to kill me off in their next film. We made plans to have me back on the big day, but I inquired further. “Hey, do you need an extra production assistant for that movie?” And they said, “Yep. You’re hired.”
What does a production assistant do? A whole bunch of crap. Really, you do just about anything anybody asks you too, for little money. But, I’d always heard it was the way into the film world, the lowest job on the totem pole, so I figured it was a great time to jump into Hollywood. We started filming in January, and the days were long and hard. Lots of hauling stuff, unpacking/packing trucks, and driving people around on errands. Not exactly glamorous, especially on a low budget movie. But I learned a lot about how to make a movie and eventually the day came where I got to drop the equipment and get in front of the camera for my cameo!
I was to play Beach Victim #1. They put me in beach clothes and covered my leg in prosthetics and makeup to make it look like a shark had chomped it off. It took three hours! They squirted tons of fake blood all over me and it actually got in my contact, turning it bright red, like The Terminator.
I got down to the beach and they buried my leg in the sand up to where the makeup started, making it look like a stump.
They yelled action and I screamed at the top of my lungs and wiggled the stump while beach goers scrambled around me. We did this for about a half hour. The sequence in the movie is literally about 3 seconds long, but hey, it got me on IMDB! It was fun and I had a blast doing it.
We shot the movie over three weeks and I’m really glad I got to be a part of it. Here are some random tidbits from my experience on Sharknado:
1. The dad from Home Alone (John Heard) doesn’t mind an egg salad sandwich from Food4Less.
2. Giant fake shark heads can still scare you when they first wheel them out.
3. Tara Reid was totally cool with me asking her not to smoke in my car.
4. Directing extras can be a pain, especially on Santa Monica Pier.
5. Ferris Wheels don’t actually have to exist to run people over in a movie.
One last random thing: a large Midwestern woman stopped me on the pier on the last day of filming and asked what we were filming. She was about the 50th person to ask me over a few hours, as the pier was packed with tourists. Bored with my usual response, I replied, “A tuna commercial.” She nodded and walked away. Minutes later, she returned and PUNCHED me in the arm. I swore, and she said, “You lied to me, skinny. You lied to me.” I’ll never forget that. Especially one day, when I’m a big fat dude.
So, that’ show it happened. I turned a really small sounding comedy show prize into a really cool opportunity that got my face in all these media outlets. Is it a great movie? For all the wrong reason, definitely. But hey, I grew up watching and loving movies exactly like this. And there’s nothing cooler than telling people I was swept up in a Sharknado!